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The Best of What They Said and I Read Week Ending 1/5/2020

Short excerpts from articles I found interesting.  I may not agree with the author and the following material is not intended as investment advice

 U.S. Global Investors - Investor Alert – January 3, 2020 – Frank Holmes 

  • “…The major market indices finished mixed this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.04 percent. The S&P 500 Stock Index fell 0.16 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.16 percent. The Russell 2000 small capitalization index lost 0.49 percent this week…The 10-year Treasury bond yield fell 8 basis points to 1.79 percent”
  • “…Wall Street closed out the year on Tuesday with the broader market delivering its best returns in six years, reports AP News. The S&P 500 finished up 28.9 percent and the Nasdaq Composite rose 35.3 percent for the year. For both indices it was the best annual performance since 2013. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 22.3 percent, led by Apple.”
  • “…The net worth of American households grew 58 percent from the recession low of $68 trillion ($577,000 per household) in the first quarter of 2009, to $107 trillion ($881,000 per household) in the second quarter of 2019, based on inflation-adjusted data from the Federal Reserve.  The U.S. economy expanded for a record 126th straight month in December, the longest expansion on record. And the country finished an entire decade without entering a recession, for the first time ever, according to a CNBC report.”
  • “…U.S. manufacturing closed out the year with the weakest monthly performance since the end of the recession, with orders shrinking and factories continuing to dial back production. The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell…the fifth straight month of contraction and missing estimates for a gain…The global economy recorded its weakest growth in the past 10 years, according to the International Monetary Fund. Rising trade tensions, poor business climate, and activity, as well as country-specific weaknesses in emerging markets, were been a significant drag on global growth in 2019.”

The Wall Street Journal – January 4, 2020 – Investors, Go Ahead and Put a Lot of Eggs in This Basket – Jon Sindreu

  • “The S&P 500 closed up almost 29% in 2019—its best annual performance since 2013. The Stoxx Europe 600, meanwhile, gained 23%. The difference over the past three decades is huge: Since 1988, as far back as data are available, the MSCI All Country World Index excluding U.S. stocks has delivered an 860% return, whereas the MSCI USA has returned more than 2,700%.”
  • “…The average investment adviser in the U.S. allocates only 22% of funds to international equities, when these make up 40% of the MSCI World Index, data by asset manager Janus Henderson show.…A big chunk of the extra returns that U.S. investors have gotten at home is explained by the greenback, which has gained 23% against a basket of other currencies since 2010. This was driven by faster economic growth in the U.S. relative to the rest of the world, which allowed the Federal Reserve to start nudging up interest rates even as other major central banks were stuck pegging them at record-low levels. Higher rates tend to attract even more funds into the country.”
  •  “…Now that economic data is improving, though, many analysts are eyeing 2020 as the year in which moving money overseas will once again prove wise. Both the trade negotiations and Brexit now appear closer to a resolution and political turmoil in the eurozone appears to be abating. By contrast, the U.S. could prove rocky for traders given that there is a presidential election on the horizon.  Investors, however, should be skeptical of the idea that the decade long trends that have favored the U.S. are about to turn.”

Kiplinger Personal Finance Adviser – January 2020 – Create a Digital Estate Plan

  • “…Your digital footprint—including photos and videos, social media accounts, subscriptions, and online bills—will eventually outlive you, leaving family and estate executors to sift through the virtual remains. An executor does not automatically gain access to the accounts unless the deceased person has made specific arrangements. Create a list of your accounts and their passwords, and note your wishes and instructions. Providing a list for a trusted person is still precarious, but most states have adopted legislation that allows you to designate a legal representative to access your digital assets after death. You can provide that access through a will, power of attorney or trust, but you will need to work with an estate planner so your plans conform with the law.”

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